n SA Journal of Industrial Psychology - The use of organisational network analysis as a diagnostic tool during team coaching - original research

Volume 44 Number 1
  • ISSN : 0258-5200
  • E-ISSN: 2071-0763



Orientation: Organisational network analysis (ONA) examines relationships between people and is a potential diagnostic tool to use during team coaching interventions. 

Research purpose: The objective of this research was to investigate how ONA can be used during a team coaching intervention aimed at addressing business challenges. 

Motivation for the study: The use of ONA as a diagnostic tool in individual coaching has been researched, but has not been applied in the emerging field of team coaching. 

Research approach/design and method: An action research methodology employing both quantitative and qualitative methods was used in this research. A purposive sampling approach was used to select a leadership team of four people who received 11 team coaching sessions. Quantitative data were collected from the leadership team and their 18 direct reports, using pre- and post-test intervention ONA questionnaires. Qualitative data were collected after the coaching intervention using semi-structured interviews with the leadership team. 

Main findings: Organisational network analysis helped to identify team coaching goals based on business challenges. It indicated the extent to which team coaching enhanced communication between the leadership team and their reports, enabling them to address business challenges. Organisational network analysis results taken out of context could, however, be misinterpreted.

Practical/managerial implications: Team coaches, ONA practitioners and leadership teams could use ONA as a diagnostic tool during team coaching interventions to identify team coaching goals based on business challenges, to gain insights into team dynamics and to assess the contribution of team coaching for addressing business challenges. Organisational network analysis should not be taken at face value and should ideally be triangulated with other data sources such as interviews. 

Contribution/value-add: On a scholarly level, this research provides empirical evidence for the benefits of using ONA during a team coaching intervention. On a practice level, suggestions are provided for the manner in which ONA can guide team coaching interventions.

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